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Saturday of the Seventh Week after Trinity

July 24, 2021 • Pastor Harrison Goodman

Today's Reading: Introit for the Eight Sunday after Trinity (Psalm 48:1, 3, 11, 14; antiphon: vs.9-10) Daily Lectionary: 1 Samuel 8:1-22; Acts 21:15-36 Let Mount Zion be glad! Let the daughters of Judah rejoice because of your judgments! (From the Introit for the Eighth Sunday after Trinity) In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. We recoil at a God who sits in judgment of our actions. It's so hard to reflect on those vulnerable moments of our past without explanations to go along with our mistakes. Those excuses are called self-justification. We want to add something to our actions to make them seem less wrong. An excuse. A blame directed at someone else. A reason why. We try so hard to justify ourselves that the idea of being judged skips right over terrifying and leaves us either despairing or furious. But it's not a question of if we will be judged. We confess it in the creed. On the Last Day, the Son will come again to judge the living and the dead. I didn't read anything about Jesus' taking into account our excuses, either. Still, we can't help it. We self-justify like we breathe. We dive into every awful day and insist that our explanations for what happened change what actually did happen. We're chasing after a favorable judgment. We're trying to find a way to hear the word "judgment" without cringing. That won't come from excuses. That will only come from the Gospel. Only within Mount Zion, within God's temple, do God's judgments become something other than a need to justify your sins. They become a source of joy. Within Mount Zion, we hear that the Lord's judgments were rendered against the Son upon the Cross. He has judged Him guilty of all your sin. He has judged you innocent, righteous, and holy. Your self-justifications are laid down, and your cross is taken up. Your excuses are cast aside for forgiveness. Let Mount Zion be glad! This is why we preach and sing in the temple. It isn't a chance to earn points with God that we can cash in for heaven. It's to tell, over and over, of the Cross where the judgment happened. Of what it looked like. Of whom it's for: you. You have been judged innocent. We think on that steadfast love. We praise His righteousness for us, and not our own. The Cross silences our excuses and leaves judgment as a hope and not a fear. This is our God, forever and ever. Never will you be judged. Always, Jesus is your justification. Let the daughters of Judah rejoice! In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. He blotted out with His own blood The judgment that against us stood; For us He full atonement made, And all our debt He fully paid. ("The Death of Jesus Christ, Our Lord" LSB 634, st.2) Audio Reflections Speaker: Pastor Duane Bamsch

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St. Luke, Evangelist

October 18, 2021 • Pastor Eli Lietzau

Today's Reading: Luke 10:1-9 Daily Lectionary: Deuteronomy 17:1-20; Matthew 14:1-21 And [Jesus] said to them, "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. Go your way; behold, I am sending you out as lambs in the midst of wolves." (Luke 10:2-3) In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Jesus sends out the 72. It's kind of like a dry-run for Pentecost. The disciples are to go out and preach the message of peace to all they come upon. Peace for the sinner. Peace for the unrighteous. Peace for the enemy, the filthy, the unclean, the unworthy. Jesus sends His disciples out to do a job of peace-proclamation, for God's enemy needs to hear this peace, which means I do, too. Jesus sends out the 72 to every village and city that He is about to go into. Kind of like John the Baptist preparing the road, making the path straight. But this, too, should show us something: Jesus always follows the proclamation of the Gospel. If the peace of the Lord is proclaimed to the people, that means that Jesus is there. For it is Jesus who is the Author of our peace. And here, too, we should make sure we understand the severity of this peace. For the peace from our Lord is not some hippy-dippy peace found in flowers and puppy dogs. It isn't some fake peace of unity, which is not a real unity because the two sides are still in opposition to each other. No, the peace of our Lord is a true and lasting peace that quells the war between God and sinners. Today, right here and right now, you have that peace. It is a peace proclaimed into your ears by simple little men who look so similar to the 72 in our text for today. These men are your pastors and they have been sent to proclaim peace to you. And peace sounds like forgiveness. Peace sounds like the Cross. Peace sounds like an empty tomb. Peace sounds like sin atoned for and death vanquished and the serpent's head crushed. Peace sounds like Jesus. And so, wouldn't you know it? Wherever God sends His pastors to proclaim His peace, Jesus is soon to follow. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Then raise to Christ a mighty song, And shout His name, His mercies tell! Sing, heav'nly host, your praise prolong, And all on earth, your anthems swell! All hail, O Lamb for sinners slain! Forever let the song ascend! Worthy the Lamb, enthroned to reign, All glory, pow'r! Amen, amen. ("O God of God, O Light of Light" LSB 810, st.4) Audio Reflections Speaker: Pastor Duane Bamsch

The 20th Sunday after Trinity

October 17, 2021 • Pastor Eli Lietzau

Today's Reading: Matthew 22:1-14 Daily Lectionary: Deuteronomy 15:19-16:22; Matthew 13:44-58 "Go therefore to the main roads and invite to the wedding feast as many as you find." And those servants went out into the roads and gathered all whom they found, both bad and good. So the wedding hall was filled with guests. But when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who had no wedding garment. And he said to him, "Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?" And he was speechless. (Matthew 22:9-12) In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. What makes you worthy to attend the wedding feast? You'd better not think it has something to do with you. If you think that you've earned a place at the wedding feast then you will also think that the wedding feast is optional. Then it is no longer a gift; it is no longer a feast to enjoy, but a tedious chore that you can do without. But that is not what the feast is, and that is certainly not who the feast is for. Take a look at the guests who are in attendance. They were found among the main roads and out in the streets. They weren't looking for a feast to attend, but were probably expecting to go home and open up a can of Spaghettios. But there they are, both good and bad. Not a single one worthy, but all of them there. And a garment is given to the guests. Probably a soaking wet one, a white one, a Jesusy one, a baptismal one. This is what is given to the guests and this is what is given to you. What makes them worthy, what makes you worthy, is Christ. The wedding feast is free. It is a party open for all. The invitation is to come and eat to your heart's delight the good and rich food of the King which has been prepared for you. There is no good reason for unbelief, no good reason to not be at the wedding feast clothed in Christ. If you think there is, when confronted by the King, you will realize that all of your excuses are pointless and you will have nothing to say. But know for certain that this feast is for you. Know for certain that Jesus is for you. Know for certain that He is the One who makes you worthy. Know all of this for certain, and come and enjoy the wedding feast! In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. O Lord, grant to Your faithful people pardon and peace that they may be cleansed from all their sins and serve You with a quiet mind; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen. (Collect for the 20th Sunday after Trinity) Audio Reflections Speaker: Pastor Duane Bamsch

Saturday of the 19th Week after Trinity

October 16, 2021 • Pastor Eli Lietzau

Today's Reading: Introit for the 20th Sunday after Trinity (Psalm 48:1, 9-11; antiphon: Liturgical Text) Daily Lectionary: Deuteronomy 14:1-2, 22-23, 28-15:15; Matthew 13:24-43 Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised in the city of our God, his holy mountain. We have thought on your steadfast love, O God, in the midst of your temple. (From the Introit for the 20th Sunday after Trinity) In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Let us pray: Lord God, Heavenly Father, You alone are worthy of our praise. You have made Your goodness known to Your Church, Your salvation is proclaimed among us, and we are to be seen as Your great and mighty city. Upon Your mountain the joy of all the earth is to be found. This mountain is known as Calvary and upon it can be found the Cross of Your Son. Upon this Cross You have established Your Church. And because of this Cross You have given to us a fortress that cannot be shaken. All the kings of the earth can rise against You. They can assemble their troops and ready their forces, but nothing can defeat Your Cross, and so nothing can defeat Your Church. Not even the gates of hell will prevail against Her. Your promise is that all Your enemies have been defeated in Christ. They may shout and shake their fists, but they will not be victorious. Soon they will all flee in terror, shriek at the coming of the Holy One who has defeated them. Within the confines of your Church may we dwell in safety, knowing that our enemies have no power over us. May Your steadfast love for Your people abound in Christ. Let us rejoice in Your salvation that You have won for us, that You give to us daily in the Gifts given here within the walls of Your Church. And may this Word of salvation reach out to the ends of the earth. May the Word of the Cross be spoken into the ears of our enemies. May those who are at enmity with You be brought to repentance and know that Jesus is for them. May this be the Church's prayer and may this be our cry of joy: That salvation is ours, but not ours alone. It is for all. You seek not the death of the sinner, but that all would come to the knowledge of the Truth. Let us live our lives within the safety of Your Church. May we know that She will not fall, that She will last forever and ever, that our children and our children's children will receive the same Christ as we receive! Guide us in the ways of your Son, O Lord, that our confidence may never be shaken. Amen. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. O, then, draw away your hearts From all pleasures base and hollow; Strive to share what He imparts While you hear His footsteps follow. As you now still wait to rise, Fix your hearts beyond the skies! ("Jesus Christ, My Sure Defense" LSB 741, st.8) Audio Reflections Speaker: Pastor Duane Bamsch